The Pentagon is deploying 5,200 troops to the Southwestern border to contrive a military operation ordered by President Trump, to curb illegal immigration. The number of troops positioned is more than double of the 2,000 deployed in Syria to fight the Islamic State group (IS).
Just a week before the midterm elections, President of United States has fixated his attention on the Central American migrants moving North in relaxed caravans, that are still hundreds of miles away from the US.
President Trump, engrossed to engage the focus of the voters on illegal immigration in the upcoming elections, stepped up his dire cautions about the convoys, tweeting, “This is an invasion of our Country and our Military is waiting for you!”
Although the President denied the intentions of his action to nurse the Republicans in the upcoming midterms, saying, “This has nothing to do with elections.”
According to the current protocol, migrants who pass the initial screening are often released until their cases are decided in immigration court, that can take several years.
The Pentagon’s “Operation Faithful Patriot” was described by the commander of U.S. Northern Command as an effort to help Customs and Border Protection “harden the southern border” by stiffening defenses at and near legal entry points. Advanced helicopters will allow border protection agents to swoop down on migrants trying to cross illegally," said Air Force Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy.
“We will not allow a large group to enter the U.S. in an unlawful and unsafe manner,” said Kevin McAleenan, commissioner of Customs and Border Protection.
Eight hundred troops already are on their way to southern Texas, O’Shaughnessy said, and their numbers will top 5,200 by week’s end. Some of the troops will be armed. He said troops would focus first on Texas, followed by Arizona and then California.
The troops will join the already present 2000 National Guardsmen deployed by the President at the order. Although, this decision to install additional troops among the pre-existing to perform the identical action that the Guard is performing is unknown.
The number of people in the first migrant caravan headed toward the U.S. has dwindled to about 4,000 from about 7,000 last week, though a second one was gaining steam and marked by violence.
Around 600 migrants in the following group attempted to cross the bridge from Guatemala to Mexico on October 29. The riverbank impasse with Mexico police faced a more vicious skirmish on October 28, when the migrants picked sticks and rocks against Officers. One migrant was killed that night by a head wound, but the cause was still indistinct.
The first group passed through the spot via the river, wading or on rafts, and was advancing through Southern Mexico. That group appeared to begin as a collection of about 160 who decided to band together in Honduras for fortification against the gangs who prey on migrants traveling alone and ballooned as the group moved North. They are mostly from Honduras, where it started, as well as El Salvador and Guatemala.
Under the International and law of the United States, migrants and entitled to apply for asylum. But there is already a blockage of asylum-seekers waiting at some border of the United States to make their claim, some waiting for over five weeks.
McAleenan said the aim of the operation was to deter migrants from crossing illegally, but he conceded his officers were overwhelmed by a surge of asylum seekers at border crossings. He also said Mexico was prepared to offer asylum to members of the caravan.
“If you’re already seeking asylum, you’ve been given a generous offer,” he said of Mexico. “We want to work with Mexico to manage that flow.”
The White House is also weighing additional border security measures, including blocking those traveling in the caravan from seeking legal asylum and preventing them from entering the U.S.
The Military Operation was met with instant criticism.
“Sending active military forces to our southern border is not only a huge waste of taxpayer money, but an unnecessary course of action that will further terrorize and militarize our border communities,” said Shaw Drake of the American Civil Liberties Union’s border rights center at El Paso, Texas.
Military personnel are legally prohibited from engaging in Immigration Enforcement. The troops will include military police, combat engineers and others helping on the border.
The troops are expected to perform duties like transporting supplies for the Border Patrol, but not involve directly with migrants seeking to cross the border, Officials said. The U.S. military has already begun carrying jersey barriers to the Southern border in conjunction with the deployment plans.
(With inputs from AP)